Leading Forward Together!

June 26, 2024

In a country brimming with pressing social challenges, the role of United Way Centraides (UWCs) must continue to evolve. Through the theme of “Leading Forward” #UWCLeadingForward explored our collective mission—to empower everyone to improve lives and build strong communities and discover new ways to move into the future.


“Being here has been such a breath of fresh air.  Leading Forward gave us the opportunity to come together to (re) connect, to recognize our collective strength and resilience, and to celebrate our network’s leadership and innovation.”, UWC Leading Forward attendee.

Leading Forward 2024 hosted over 400 attendees representing 60+ United Way Centraides across Canada – staff, senior leadership, and board governance leaders. In this common space, attendees connected and shared insights that strengthened their efforts to achieve a greater impact.  30 peer and external partner-led workshops provided opportunities to partake knowledge and build new skills to bring back to practice in local.

The national conference was delighted by a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Day 1. He spoke about the important role United Way Centraides play in building strong and equitable communities and thanked the network for its close collaboration with the government.


In the face of challenges to achieving the impact we seek, our speakers time and again called us to own our combined power and continue to be changemakers, no matter the hurdles we may face.

The four plenaries were titled: A Blend of Philanthropy from an Indigenous Perspective and Indigenous World Views, Outlook Canada – Insights and Implications for United Way Centraide leadership, United Way Centraides as Innovators and Leaders, and The Happiness Equation –Purpose, Passion and People.

As keynote speaker Neil Pasricha reflected in an inspiring, fun and engaging closing plenary, “Savor the little moments; they are the building blocks of happiness.”  We certainly feel emboldened and heartened by last week’s speakers and equipped by the ideas and conversations held during our breakout sessions.


On Tuesday, June 18, Leading forward hosted the Celebration Dinner/Awards Night dinner presented by RBC and Syntax Strategic. The six National awards recognized incredible service, commitment to mission, innovation and impact in communities across the country from deserving UWC staff and volunteers.  The winners were chosen by a Selection Committee comprised of five members, United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC) Board Chair, UWCC’s President and CEO, two senior UWC leaders and a prior award winner.

Awards and Recognition

Congratulations to our Awards Winners!

  1. André Mailhot Award: Greg Wengreniuk, Cabinet Volunteer (Edmonton, AB)
  2. George Hart Award for Excellence: Karen Young, CEO United Way, Calgary & Area
  3. President’s Award for Innovation: Sara Napier, CEO UW Halifax
  4. UWC Leader of the Future Award: Jennifer McEathron, Director of Community Impact & Engagement,  United Way Central New Brunswick
  5. National Partnership Builder Award: Hamilton Steelworker’s Area Council, Hamilton, Ontario
  6. National Community Championship Award: Findhelp | 211 (re: Sue Wilkinson)

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